The People in My Neighbourhood

March 20, 2011 at 3:55 pm (Blogging, Life, My City) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

What defines a neighbourhood?

My favourite definition is “a district where people live and the people in that particular area.”

A neighbourhood is part of a community. How do you grow a community? According to this poster, which I keep meaning to buy from Ten Thousand Villages, you:

Leave your house. Look up when you are walking. Sit on your stoop. Use your library. Buy from local merchants. Fix it even if you didn’t break it. Pick up litter. Dance in the street. Start a tradition. Hire young people for odd jobs. Open your shades. Take back the night. Seek to understand.

How big is your neighbourhood? My neighbourhood is as big as a block, a city, a province and world(s).

When I was growing up, my neighbourhood was 5 blocks long and 4 blocks wide and consisted of everyone who lived in my rural, small town. It was an amazing and wonderful and intrusive place to grow up in. Until I turned 13, it was almost paradise. Everyone knew who I was, where I belonged and had an opinion on whom or what I was going to turn out to be. Oddly enough, all of them were wrong. I miss the softness and the safety of small town life. I miss the people. I don’t miss the opinions but I miss discussing these opinions with a wide range of people. My physical neighbourhoods are much smaller now.

Growing up was very much like being on Sesame Street; we could roam the neighbourhood unsupervised, play on the streets, talk to many strange & wonderful creatures and stop every once in a while for a tea party. I don’t go out for tea with as many people now as I did growing up. My mother & I spent many mornings having tea & cookies with honorary grandmothers, my friends & I would raid gardens and borrow kitchens to create imaginary & real meals and there were always my younger siblings to take out for tea as I grew older.

Now that I am back in the city, my neighbourhood is both smaller and larger than it was.  I live in an artsy, historical neighbourhood that I love – here is where the Fringe happens, where the oldest buildings in the city are (the picture above is one of the oldest apartment buildings in the city. It was built in 1912 and is still used for its original purpose) and close enough to the Exhibition grounds to hear the music on clear, summer nights.

I haunt the libraries; I use all of them. The most annoying part of living in Montreal was that the libraries were partly private in that they were open to everyone but you could take out materials only if you lived in that district. I love the Saskatchewan library system that allows me the ability to borrow materials from everywhere in the province at no cost.

I keep track of what is going on in my city and I try to enjoy as many as the activities as I can. For example, this weekend, in front of the main library, university students are playing street hockey for charity. They do it every year. I first discovered this tradition when I lived downtown and walked to the main branch almost daily! I know it is spring when I walk to the main library and see the street blocked off for hockey. 🙂 I would be there today but am fighting off a wicked cold! It is spring (officially today) and I have my annual cold.

My neighbourhood is as big as my province which is extremely big-hearted. For the last 35 years, my province has hosted an annual Telemiracle in early March. Bob McGrath is a co-host and even though he has no connection to Saskatchewan, he has come back for 34 out of 35 years. We do this “For Good“, to support our own and because we can. The yearly total is usually in the millions; in a province of less than a million neighbours, who in nickels and dimes and loonies and twonies give to help each other out. Want to see what it’s all about – go to YouTube and search for “Telemiracle 2011.”

Growing tired of watching the ticker tape parade across the bottom of my tiny TV screen, this year I ventured down to the Centennial Auditorium to enjoy the show, for the first time ever, in person. Bob looked much smaller in person. Actually, the entire show seemed smaller in person, perhaps I should have sat up closer. The Telemiracle Bear was taking pictures of himself on stage – which can not be easy to do. Overall, this whole neighbourhood was happy and joyful.

My neighbourhood is vast; it encompasses worlds. I haunt libraries. I read everything. I grew up surrounded by an enormous multi-media experience. My interests are vast. I consider many fantasy and fairy tale people as my neighbours. I spent time with the Doctor and his cohorts.  I’ve been to Newford. I traveled to Green Gables, spent time with Pippi and been caving all without leaving the safety of my apartment.

The people in my neighbourhood are many. My neighbourhoods are vast. My neighbourhoods are both physical and virtual. My neighbours are varied and inspiring and everywhere.

A few of my virtual neighbours are Lisa, Todd, Kathy, Wendy, John and a multitude of Lego inhabitants.

Who are the people in your neighbourhood?

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